Fellows Blog Posts by Tanuj Parikh

Aug 11, 2007 KE Kenya

I’ve been in Nairobi since last Wednesday evening. Eb-F opened a new Unit here about three months ago. On Thursday we moved to a more permanent and bigger office and have just been getting settled. Friday I was able to go to the field – Kibera Slums. A lot of what I could write about Nairobi has already been covered really well by Kerry in other entries but I just wanted to share a quick few thoughts:

- Nairobi traffic is absolutely horrendous. It’s worse than any city I’ve ever seen in the US, except maybe Los Angeles.

- Al-Jazeera news gets a terribly unfair rap in...

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Aug 8, 2007 KE Kenya

So I’m in the home stretch of my time as a Kiva Fellow. I’ll be returning to New York next week. I have mixed emotions about this – it will be wonderful to see my family and friends again, to enjoy American efficiency and hot water and not eat barbecued red meat with every meal, but the past several weeks have been an undeniably instructive, formative and remarkable experience for me. Last Thursday night was my last in Nakuru, the town where Ebony’s head office is. I went to dinner that night with the whole staff. We spent several hours at the restaurant, dancing to the spirited Kenyan...

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Jul 19, 2007 KE Kenya

Well I have been here for over a month now and have a little less than a month left. I can’t believe so much time has passed already. Next week I will be taking some time off from my Fellow duties to visit Tanzania with some family. Then I return to Nakuru for a week. After that I will travel to Eb-F branch offices in Mombasa and Nairobi.

So it’s been a while since I’ve written. It’s going to be easiest to go with the bullet/list format I went with in my last entry. It’ll be a mix of recapping certain days/events and just random thoughts/...

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Jul 4, 2007 KE Kenya

It’s been a while since my last entry and I have a few different momentsI want to cover, so I apologize in advance if the following is a little disjointed and meandering. (And for Russell, I apologize that I’ll most likely switch tenses several times in this entry.) I think the best way to cover the highlights of the past two weeks is list form:

June 23:

James (Ebony Foundation’s director) arranged for me to see the KCB Safari Rally. Basically, it’s a year-long series off-road derbies, or as I like...

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Jun 19, 2007 KE Kenya

Yesterday was my first day of field work – meeting entrepreneurs who have gotten loans from Kiva lenders and capturing their stories and lives to be written about in journals that are then posted on the Kiva site. The following is an account of the day’s happenings. Disclaimer: It was an eventful day so this will definitely be a long entry; feel free to skim.

I arrived at Ebony’s office around 9:30 in the morning. Jane made some brief preparations to leave and then we were off. Jane was a loan officer for Ebony and worked here out of the main...

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Jun 19, 2007 KE Kenya

A good friend of mine at college who is currently spending the summer in Cairo emailed me a comment in response my post about Mariah Carey being everywhere that I thought was really insightful and well-said and deserved to be shared:

“I really have to agree with you about how ridiculously pervasive American sh*t is everywhere—-even in the Middle East, which is supposedly the most anti-American place ever, basically every bilboard is about some American company…I just went to Alexandria and there was this one block where there was a McDonalds, Pizza Hut, LIttle Ceaser’s, KFC and...

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Jun 17, 2007 KE Kenya

I start going out in to the field to meet entrepreneurs tomorrow, so I promise to have more Kiva-related info on here soon. In the meantime, here’s some more about the touristy aspects of my time here…

I still don’t have my luggage. It seems that a lot of people had their bags lost on British Airways because their Nairobi airport lost bags telephone # is always busy or no one picks up. It’s a bit frustrating to be honest. I had to go buy some clothes from a store called Wool Matt, which I’m pretty sure is a thinly veiled imitation of Wal Mart. You can buy anything you need...

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Jun 15, 2007 KE Kenya

I arrived in Kenya on Wednesday evening (two nights ago) after a long flight from New York via London. Because of weather delays from New York, I had to literally run the length of Heathrow Airport just to catch my connecting flight to Nairobi. Apparently my bags didn’t move that fast. The British Airways reps assure me that the bags will be coming hopefully within the next day or two. In the meantime it’s been amusing to see how long I can stretch the small supply of clothing and toiletries that fit in to my carry-on luggage.

I was met at the airport by Nancy, who is the unit...

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Jun 1, 2007 KE Kenya

 Hi, I’m Tanuj Parikh and I’ll be living and working in Nakuru, Kenya (which is about 50 miles outside Nairobi, I believe) this summer for the MFI Ebony Foundation. I’m a 19 year old rising junior at Harvard and was born and raised in New York City. I just finished final exams last week and will be leaving for Kenya on June 12. I’ll be there for 10 weeks, living with a host family that Kiva and Ebony helped arrange for me.

I first became interested in microfinance when I got to college because it’s a pretty hot topic on campus – there are always panel discussions and...

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